Vegas sharp handicaps Week 10 SEC games
SEC football resumes Saturday at noon ET as Vanderbilt travels to Florida and Georgia travels to Kentucky. There are a total of six games with at least one conference member on the day.
Brian Edwards, a long-time Las Vegas handicapper with an emphasis on SEC football, will provide his thoughts and insights on the line moves throughout the 2015 season. Edwards, a University of Florida graduate, is a weekly radio guest in Las Vegas, Omaha and Memphis and makes regular appearances on Chad Millman’s betting podcast on ESPN.com.
Vanderbilt at Florida
Kickoff: noon ET
Friday Line: Florida -20.5 (opened -21)
Over/Under: 37 (opened 37.5)
Public: 78 percent Gators
Analysis: “If you paid close attention to the Vandy-Houston game, they didn’t lose 34-0 on account of their defense. Houston had a pick-six and three other turnovers gave them a short field. Vanderbilt was getting no help from its offense, and yet still held Houston to 371 yards. Houston averages 538.1 and it was more than that going into the game. Vandy’s defense, as it has all year, accorded itself just fine. The quarterback play and their whole offensive effort was horrible.
“I would normally look to Vandy as a healthy road underdog. However, the matchup of Florida’s defense on Vandy’s offense is a mismatch. Not only do I think Vandy will be fortunate to find a way to get 10 or 14, I also think it’s more likely that Florida’s defense will force turnovers and either score or set up a short field.
“Vandy’s defense will hold its own against Florida’s better-than-average offense, but not elite offense. Florida’s offense is not going to overwhelm Vandy’s defense at all. Not looking at stats, I’d say Vandy’s defense is one of the five best in the SEC this year. They’ve been terrific on that side of the ball all year long, so that scares me away from laying a big number with Florida.”
The Play: Pass.
Georgia at Kentucky
Kickoff: noon ET
Friday Line: Georgia -15 (0pened -14)
Over/Under: 58.5 (opened 58.5)
Public: 58 percent Wildcats
Analysis: “All of the rumors and reports (swirling around the Georgia football staff) are there. But look, the Lexington Herald-Leader’s column on Monday was that the honeymoon is over for Mark Stoops. The Auburn game was a heartbreaker at home and along with the close loss to Florida seemed to take a little life out of Kentucky. Now we’ve seen them get blown out in back-to-back games.
“I think both teams have issues not only with the way they’re playing. Stoops is starting to take some criticism up in Lexington. These are two teams that are “play against” teams at this point in the season. I don’t want to back either one of them.”
The Play: Pass.
Arkansas at Ole Miss
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET
Friday Line: Ole Miss -10 (opened -10.5)
Over/Under: 53.5 (opened 54)
Public: 63 percent Razorbacks
Analysis: “The last seven times that Arkansas has been an underdog of 9 points or more, Arkansas is 6-1 against the spread. The Razorbacks go into this game with confidence. Receiver Cody Hollister is back. Drew Morgan (shoulder) is questionable, but everything I’ve read all week is that he’s going to be good to go.
“I know Ole Miss backers can argue for the revenge angle, but I’m going to take the Arkansas side. They destroyed Ole Miss, 30-0. They’re going into this game believing they can win and they can win. I think it’s going to be a close game. Nobody’s run away from Arkansas this year. They lost by 13 at Alabama, but led into the third quarter.
“I fully expect this to be a one-possession game. I made Ole Miss an 8.5-point favorite. If you can get Arkansas double digits, I like that.”
The Play: Arkansas.
South Carolina at Tennessee
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET
Friday Line: Tennessee -17 (opened -16.5)
Over/Under: 58 (56.5)
Public: 69 percent Vols
Analysis: “I’ve upgraded South Carolina a little bit based on last weekend. They were right there in the game with Texas A&M the whole way. I made Tennessee an 11-point favorite in this game. Brandon Wilds’ return has put a little life into the South Carolina offense. He’s run for 117 and 128 in back-to-back games. He had missed a month after the Georgia game.
“Tennessee is only 5-7 against the spread as a home favorite under Butch Jones. The last three years their games have been decided by a total of eight points. Pharoh Cooper is one of the best receivers in the country and South Carolina’s quarterback play is getting better. I think Tennessee wins by 10 to 14 points, but I’ll take South Carolina plus the 17.
“In SEC play this year, double-digit underdogs are 6-2 against the spread. That’s a little gravy.”
The Play: South Carolina.
Auburn at Texas A&M
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Friday Line: Texas A&M -7 (opened -7.5)
Over/Under: 60.5 (opened 59)
Public: 69 percent Aggies
Analysis: “I’ve been impressed with the way Sean White has played the last few weeks. Certainly it wasn’t his fault against Arkansas. Auburn had some very critical dropped passes. Texas A&M is a team to play against right now.
“I’m not playing this game. If the line were to drift up north of 7 points, I might consider Auburn, but as of right now it’s a pass for me. I think this will be a pretty close game, but Texas A&M could be up 3 or 4, get a late touchdown and cover.”
The Play: Pass.
LSU at Alabama
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Friday Line: Alabama -6.5 (opened -6)
Over/Under: 46 (opened 48)
Public: 69 percent Tigers
Analysis: “I think both teams have really good defenses. Not the type they had back in 2011, and not even on the level of some of the great defenses both have had in the last decade. Obviously both have terrific running backs.
“To me, it’s going to come down to which quarterback is going to take care of the football. If you look at what has gone on this season, Brandon Harris has no interceptions. They certainly weren’t asking him to do a whole lot early in the year, but that’s started to change the last three games.
“With the few amount of attempts that LSU gives Harris, he has thrown for more than 200 yards in three games in a row. He’s got 15 touchdown passes and two interceptions for his career. Their receivers don’t get much pub and their stats don’t wow you, but Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre are both going to play in the NFL.
“We’ve seen Jacob Coker throw seven interceptions this year. Alabama is 0-5 against the spread at home this season. Most of those were double-digit lines, so I don’t know if that stat has as much relevance as it normally would. Alabama just hasn’t covered at home.
“I think it’s a tossup for who wins outright. When that’s the scenario, I certainly like going with the underdog. LSU is one of the top 5 teams in the country.
“Both teams are healthy. They usually play close games. I think this will be a typical LSU-Alabama game: a nail-biter and one to remember.”
The Play: LSU.